Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 415–434

A New Scale to Measure Executive Servant Leadership: Development, Analysis, and Implications for Research

  • Lora L. Reed
  • Deborah Vidaver-Cohen
  • Scott R. Colwell

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-010-0729-1

Cite this article as:
Reed, L.L., Vidaver-Cohen, D. & Colwell, S.R. J Bus Ethics (2011) 101: 415. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0729-1


This article introduces a new scale to measure executive servant leadership, situating the need for this scale within the context of ethical leadership and its impacts on followers, organizations and the greater society. The literature on servant leadership is reviewed and servant leadership is compared to other concepts that share dimensions of ethical leadership (e.g., transformational, authentic, and spiritual leadership). Next, the Executive Servant Leadership Scale (ESLS) is introduced, and its contributions and limitations discussed. We conclude with an agenda for future research, describing ways the measure can be used to test hypotheses about organizational moral climate, ethical organizational culture, corporate responsibility, and institutional theory.


servant leadershipleadershipscale developmentethical leadershiptransformational leadershipauthentic leadershipspiritual leadershipmoral climateethical organizational cultureinstitutional theorycorporate responsibilityinterpersonal supportmoral integrityaltruismegalitarianismtransactional leadershipbuilding community

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lora L. Reed
    • 1
  • Deborah Vidaver-Cohen
    • 2
  • Scott R. Colwell
    • 3
  1. 1.Eckerd CollegeSt. PetersburgU.S.A.
  2. 2.Florida International UniversityMiamiU.S.A.
  3. 3.College of Management and EconomicsUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada